March 19, 2007

PodCamp Atlanta — I was there

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I'm learning a lot about social media these days. I just previewed here the BlogHer Business 07 conference I'll be participating in later this week in NYC, and now I'm reviewing PodCamp Atlanta, an unconference I participated in this past weekend! With such deep and wide immersion in the hands-on conversation on new media and the power of the Internet, I hope to upgrade my geek skills if not my social skills!

I got interested in podcasts when I ran out of excuses to exercise (read: walk). I reasoned, if I could listen to some of my favorite NPR radio talk programs, especially the interviews anytime, anywhere I could theoretically walk briskly an hour without aching to quit! So I asked Ariel, an Israeli friend who is an uber online deal finder to locate an iPod at a great price. He, more than half my age, demanded to know, "Do you want to be cool or do you want to listen to podcasts?" Not stopping for an answer, he shoved a small blue device and earphones in my hands. "Here, use my [under $60] Mp3 player, and let me know in a week whether you still need an iPod." (Since then, I have upgraded one time the same device, same brand to hold more podcasts.)

When not exercising;-) I've been blogging and discovering on some others' blogs the occasional podcast (and video). Hmm, if I only I could create and then embed one of these media files into my blog to convey a message in the most effective way! When the student is ready, the teacher appears.

Enter PodCamp Atlanta: A two-day camp that didn't require name tags sewn on my clothes nor sleeping in a bunk or tent. Fellow camper-participants included more than 150 podcasters, listeners, bloggers, readers, and sponsors. Most of the professors, students, small business owners, freelancers, full-time employees, retirees, community organizers, and the one baby and dog came from local places. While most participants arrived at the Emory University Alumni House venue from greater metropolitan Atlanta (I drove seven minutes from my home, a record commute!), others came from points southeast (Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, as examples), the north (Pennsylvania), and midwest (Ohio).

Whether participants arrived late, left early, could only participate in one session at the same time, or want to revisit a session, they (and anyone else) can listen to session podcast versions listed in this aptly named link, What would PodCamp Atlanta be without podcasts?

Check out this set of randomly-selected PodCamp Atlanta reviews. Live bloggers, early risers, and otherwise generous and talented participants wrote them:
Last, what's a blog post without a picture? Shown below, four folks discover over lunch (choose one: grilled salmon, crab cakes, or chicken teriyaki) that they share a profound admiration and affection for George Kelly! Three had met George at a new media conference, and one, though he never met George, designed one of his blogs! Everyone spoke of George's selflessness and generosity: "He picked me up, a virtual friend in cyberspace and now a fellow conference participant at the airport, drove around for some sightseeing, and bought lunch"; "He made available his Mac power cord when I was on 'low' with no cord on hand"; and "He offered to share his hotel room when my funds were low." All agreed that probably George's greatest gift is his energy “which soothes the frantic and restores to zapped souls: sanity, serenity, or both." George. You rock, and we love you.

George Kelly Fan Club (Atlanta chapter)
top row: J and Tiffany; bottom: Tamar and Karsh

March 16, 2007

BlogHer Business 07 — I'll be there

BlogHer Business Conference '07 logo

March 22 and 23 you'll find me in New York City where I’ll be joining about 200 women (and a few "token" guys) from the business blogosphere at the BlogHer conference (theme: How to Succeed in a Social Media World).

(Unlike traditional media — licensed print, online, broadcasting, and production companies — social media are online tools that users produce or influence, and that foster collaboration and sharing. Example social media are Wikipedia, MySpace, YouTube, and Flickr. Also, blogs [estimated 60 million as of November 2006!], message boards, and podcasts.)

I am excited to be meeting a party of wired people while I learn more about online collaboration and sharing among users and what others are doing and want to accomplish. Lucky me! I have a bloghership (free conference registration) in exchange for being an official conference live audio blogger who is contributing to the text, video, and audio conference record.

Companies that listen to audiences are rare. Most businesses still look at audiences as passive receivers of one-way conversations that push products and services on them. This two-day, highly interactive conference will address questions that enlightened business players are asking about social media, such as when and how to use its tools, and about social media integration — how to interact with customers, clients, partners, and employees who are already part of the social media world.

Photos show ListenShare's Stephanie Roberts and two cool dudes at the BlogHer Conference '06 in San Jose, California (theme: How Are Your Blogs Changing Your World?).

On the left, Guy Kawasaki, Managing Partner of Garage Technology.

You can listen to Steph's individual interviews of Guy; Arianna Huffington, Founder of the Huffington Post; and others during that conference.

And on the right, George Kelly — waaay too many hats, talents, and interests to list despite his claim, "I'm just a no-name reporter. I wish I had nothing 2 say."

BlogHer mission: to create a community resource and meeting place opportunities for women bloggers pursuing exposure, education, and community. BlogHer developed Business Conference 07 in response to the overwhelming popularity of the Business Blogging content tracks at its previous two sold-out BlogHer Conferences.

March 10, 2007

Tel Aviv Cinemateque Librarian

Since returning to Israel as a place to live, I have discovered wonderful ways to learn about my fellow Israelis and our shared history, cultural differences, and multifaceted profiles. Besides attending weekly classes at the Gordon ulpan center for the intensive study of Hebrew and participating in a Hebrew literature course, I spend hours monthly gazing through the wide lens of Israel's local documentary film repertory. I watch these creations in the Tel Aviv Cinemateque Library.

Librarian, Dror Izhar (no relation to writer, politician, and cultural icon S.Yizhar) has an encyclopedic mind finely honed by years of film viewing and studies in history, culture, film-making, literature, Greek philosophy, and art (B.A., Tel Aviv University). "My M.A. (Bar Ilan University) and Ph.D. (Ben Gurion University of the Negev) are more concrete," Izhar explains. "The M.A. is on African-Americans in Hollywood film and TV during the Cold War, and the Ph.D. is on the [East] Indian Patriot's image in British film and TV during the Cold War."

Izhar's passion for the medium fuels his scholarship:
I was always passionate about films. … Jerry Lewis, Danny Kaye, Jean Gabin, Jean-Paul Belmondo, Alan Delon, Toto, Vittorio Gassman, Marcello Mastroianni, Alberto Sordi, Nino Manfredi, Lino Ventura, Richard Roundtree, John Wayne, Sidney Poitier, and countless fantastic performers from Japan, China, Russia, Israel (Shai K. Ophir and Gila Almagor), French and Italian comedies, espionage and thrillers, crime movies.

How did Izhar discover film, and why did he decide to study it?
I was not popular and not a successful student. So I went to the movies with girls, without girls, with boys my age, and alone, in front of the TV. Physically I sensed elation. Only in sex did I get that elation, so you could say that sex and movies motivate me.Buster Keaton and Vittorio De Sica triggered my interest in pursuing the medium.

At Tel Aviv and Ben Gurion universities, I met two remarkable people: Professor Shlomo Sand and Professor Frank Stern. They knew more than I about European cinema while I knew more about the rest of film, so we were even.

And while Izhar insists, “I'm really not into lists: The idea smells of inventory and grocery lists,” he admits to —
... being into everything exciting, revealing, documenting societies, neo-realism, some new wave and some Hollywood genres, British films of a certain period (forties, late fifties, sixties-to-eighties, and nineties), and new Hollywood. Japanese films, Chinese, Indian, and Latino-American movies, some Iranian, an odd Turkish movie here, an Australian movie there, a Hollywood musical.

So, when I ask for guidance, he considers my interests carefully, thinks out loud while scanning his vast mental database, and scrawls in my notebook a list of must-see films. These lists are my curriculum that during the past three years has included —
So many movies. Such an exquisite Library. Such a remarkable Librarian. Who knew? Now you do.

Update | June 2009  Dror became Dr. Dror Izhar on earning a PhD in history from Ben Gurion University of the Negev. He is developing into a book, his dissertation, "The Indian Patriot Image in British Commercial Film and TV (1956-1986." To listen to Dr. Dror discuss his work, with illustrations, watch the video, Love-Hate: Brits and E. Indian Patriots (8:17 minutes).

Tel Aviv Cinemateque Library

As often as possible, I view Israeli produced, Hebrew language (sometimes mixed with Arabic, Russian, or Amharic) documentary films.

I need to do this because I am a newcomer to this ancient land where I was born yet left before learning it on the ground. Since connecting with my roots in this Levantine world where status quo and existence itself are never assumed, viewing documentaries has become a fast path to learning about my fellow Israelis.

So many movies. Through the wide lens of Israel's local documentary film repertory, I encounter myriad ideas, issues, projects, and people. So, I wend my way to the Tel Aviv Cinemateque Library.

Such an exquisite Library. I check my backpack outside the door, and enter the largest information center in Israel on Israeli and international film. Library assets include films (on videos and DVD), international and Israeli film journals and Hebrew language newspaper clippings, books, posters, and photos from publicists in Hollywood and Europe. Soon, the window on my viewer will open to cultures, traditions, conflicts, and dialogs revealing the mosaic of Israeli society.

Tel Aviv Cinemateque Librarian, Dror Yizhar, helps me to choose a film. Next, I pay the symbolic fee my Tel Aviv Cinemateque membership requires per Library viewing session — about $1.50, or 5 NIS [New Israeli Shekels], and settle into a private carrel equipped with a monitor, playback equipment, and earphones. Sitting among fellow Israelis and others for whom movie-viewing is clearly a serious pursuit and source of pleasure, I share the treasures with high school students, college and university grads, people looking for a thesis or dissertation topic, movie lovers, professors, lecturers — everyone. “You name it. If they're interested in movies, they're welcome,” quips Yizhar.

In this Library, I have —

About the Tel Aviv Cinemateque.
Since 1973, the Tel Aviv Cinemateque has been this White City's (and beyond) address for viewing films of different genres. Classical works of the finest directors, contemporary mainstream artistic Israeli and international options, and a selection of experimental and avant-garde pieces, independent works, retrospectives, and premieres feed patrons’ tastes and fancies. Almost every month and season, offerings include festivals on special themes or countries and in different fields (for instance, animation), workshops, courses, and major events (DocAviv — the Tel Aviv International Documentary Film Festival, among the most highly sought-after and respected film festivals in the world— in March; Israeli Academy Awards in late summer; and a student film festival, as examples).

The Cinemateque is involved in social and political questions of Israeli society, and has screened films shunned by official or social censorship, especially concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, foreign workers, and trafficking in sex. Sometimes, panels of artists, writers, journalists, actors, and others discuss films just viewed. Among cultural events happening inside or outside on the entrance square are comics festivals and political and social rallies. An optional membership allows free or deeply discounted admission to events.

Street: Sprinzak 2 (corner of HaArba'a)
Phone: 03. 606. 0800 (Hebrew only)